Abstract The effects of changes in shading (through riparian canopy removal and re-growth) on juvenile salmon, Salmo salar L., trout, Salmo trutta L., and grayling, Thymallus thymallus (L.) populations, and macroinvertebrate biomass and species composition in a chalk stream in southern England were examined. Low levels of in-stream weed growth, because of shading by closed tree canopy, diminished macroinvertebrate production and diversity. 0+ salmon and trout had lower densities under closed canopy, relative to adjacent open sites with substantial weed cover, where fish were also found to be larger. Canopy removal positively affected the growth of aquatic macrophytes and the availability of potential prey for juvenile salmonids. The findings have implications for the management of chalk streams, in particular, that riparian tree canopy should be managed to prevent complete closure, and excessive cutting of weed should be avoided where salmon production is below sustainable levels.